Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Resources for the 6 Traits and Writing Workshop

This summer I had the chance to participate in the Austin's Butterfly activity that Jennifer Jacobson shared with us on Tuesday. The drawings and the video helped me to reflect on the importance of feedback and the language we use with students. This activity also highlights the importance of providing a model for our students. I know that many teachers were considering using the drawings with students to talk about how to give feedback to one another. I think that's a great idea!

Models of Excellence has images of Austin's butterfly that you can download. (Look on the right hand side of page.) If you read this article, you will find the information about the task, as well as great ideas for how you can use Austin's butterfly with students! Here is the link to the video that Jennifer shared with us: Austin's Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work - Models, Critique and Descriptive Feedback. If you would like to explore how to use these images with your students, let me know!

Happy Reading!

Epic - Free Books!

I highly recommend that you check out this FREE ebook site! EPIC is like Netflix for children's ebooks. Right now they are offering the site free to educators! After you create your account, you can create an account for each of your students. Epic has an app that can be downloaded on your iPads as well. Thank you to Karen Mayo for letting the WES staff know that this resource is now available free of charge. Enjoy!

Importance of Anchor Charts

This week I enjoyed checking out the online resources for the book Smarter Charts: Optimizing an Instructional Staple to Create Independent Readers and Writers. I know this book is labeled for K-2 teachers, but most of the information and ideas apply to anchor charts for classrooms in grades 3-5 as well. If you have a minute, take a peek at the colorful handout for "Anatomy of a Chart" and "A Field Guide to Literacy Charts"! We can't underestimate the value of our environmental print in all grades!

You may find some ideas for writing anchor charts in this post - 25 Awesome Anchor Charts for Teaching Writing. My favorites were the charts for The Why Behind Writers' Workshop, Setting Goals, and Power Up Student Sentences.

Mentor Texts

I highly recommend all of these professional books for using mentor texts in your writing mini lessons. Let me know if you would like to check them out! These books can support your lessons in narrative, informative, and persuasive writing, as well as the six traits!

Book Recommendations for Word Choice

Book Recommendations for Sentence Fluency

Book Recommendations for Conventions

Here are some additional book lists from Scholastic for mentor texts for each trait. Let me know if you are looking for texts to introduce a certain trait, I would love to help!

Great Mentor Text for Goal Setting

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If you are setting goals with your students, I highly recommend the book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It. This is a great book for talking about growth mindset and perseverance as well! I have been reading aloud this text in second grade classrooms to introduce goal setting with NWEA. The teachers and I are giving students their fall score on an index card as well as their target growth for the year. Using this information, students are setting a target point goal for their NWEA test in January.

A great new addition to the index card process is asking students to identify a learning goal in math that they want to meet by this winter when they retake the NWEA. To do this, Brynn made an anchor chart with the four categories in the math NWEA (geometry, algebraic thinking and operations, numbers and operations, and measurement and data). She created a menu of four to six goal options in each category. She selected goals that align with NWEA, Educate, Everyday Math and Common Core. Students looked at their NWEA report to find which category needed improvement, which was colored yellow. From there, they looked at the chart to find a goal in that category. We found the second graders to be engaged in the process and able to select a "just right" goal!

For the upper elementary teachers who have used the NWEA index cards in the past, having student write a learning target on the back may be a great way to do some individual goal setting! Let me know if you would like more information about this process (since it's easier to explain in person!) or if you would like me to help you work with your class on goal setting. Thank you to Amanda Levesque for sharing this great mentor text with me! (This book is probably a good fit for grades 2-5. See below for book recommendations for K-5.)

New Mentor Texts for Introducing Growth Mindset

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Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, Grades K-5

Atwood Primary School

Williams Elementary School